Nashville Health Care Exec Top Contender For Trump's Medicare Innovation Chief | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Health Care Exec Top Contender For Trump's Medicare Innovation Chief

Sep 10, 2019

The co-founder of a Nashville health care startup is reportedly the top contender to oversee innovation for Medicare and Medicaid. Politico has reported the Trump Administration is on the verge of hiring Brad Smith, whose career has straddled both health care and politics.

Brad Smith helped a statewide education nonprofit with former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist. Then he co-founded a palliative care company with Frist, called Aspire Health.

Frist says Smith is a good fit for the innovation arm of Medicare and Medicaid.

"Brad is in the business of providing ideas and practical solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems," Frist tells WPLN.    

Their company became the largest provider of home-based comfort care for patients near the end of life. Aspire sold last year for an estimated $440 million, according to the Tennessean, to insurance giant Anthem, though Smith remained CEO. Its business model is based on a unique payment arrangement with Medicare Advantage plans.

Smith has said that before he got into palliative care, he didn’t even know what it was.

"I never thought I would run a health care company," he told the Nashville Institute for Faith & Work in 2017.

The former Rhodes Scholar previously worked on economic development under former Governor Bill Haslam and as a staffer for former Sen. Bob Corker.